A PAEDOPHILE who sought out extreme images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children for his own gratification left court a free man.

Neil Evans, 35, gathered more than 200 indecent images of children across several devices, including external hard drives and computers.

When police raided his home, in Nathan Court, Colchester, they seized 19 devices, later discovering five of them contained sickening pictures.

Evans admitted to officers in interview he was sexually attracted to girls as young as eight-years-old.

Eleanor Scott-Davies, prosecuting at Chelmsford Crown Court, said the paedophile was found in possession of 37 images of the most serious Category A, 70 Category B and 134 images of Category C.

He admitted three charges of making indecent images of children and one count of possessing 12 prohibited images of a child.

Ms Scott-Davies said: “Most images were of pre-pubescent girls. There were also some 580 movies which showed bestiality but they had been deleted so he was not in possession of them.

Folashade Abiodun, mitigating, said the defendant had entered a prompt guilty plea to all charges and had taken steps to address his offending and added he had shown remorse.

“The only thing he would like me to add is he is doing everything he can to be a better person,” she said.

“He has been trying to ensure he improves and does things that ensures he is no longer as socially isolated as he has been in the past.

“He will do everything he can to ensure he emerges from this dark well he has been in and doesn’t come back before the court.

“He wishes to build a healthier, more wholesome life.”

Judge Charles Gratwicke suspended an eight month prison sentence for two years and said anyone with experience of seeing indecent images “could not fail to be revolted”.

“Young children have a right to grow up uncontaminated by the abuse of adults,” he said.

Evans must complete a 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 100 hours of unpaid work.

As he left the dock he said: “Thank you for giving me a second chance.”